Joint tortfeasor contribution
A tortfeasor has a right of contribution from a joint tortfeasor when he or she has paid more than his or her proportionate share of the common liability.
Jointly and severally liable
In accordance with Ohio Revised Code 2307.25(A), if one or more persons are jointly and severally liable in tort for the same injury or loss to person or property or for the same wrongful death, there may be a right of contribution (even if a judgment has not been recovered against all of them). As Ohio Courts have pronounced, “contribution, when it exists, is the right of a person who has been compelled to pay what another should pay in part to require partial (usually proportionate) reimbursement and arises from principles of equity and natural justice.” Travelers Indem. Co. v. Trowbridge, 41 Ohio St.2d 11, 13-14, 321 N.E.2d 787 (1975)
Right of contribution
A tortfeasor has a right of contribution from a joint tortfeasor when he or she has paid more than his or her proportionate share of the common liability. The tortfeasor seeking contribution will be limited to recovering only the amount paid by that tortfeasor in excess of his or her proportionate share. A joint tortfeasor may not be compelled to make contribution beyond that tortfeasor’s own proportionate share of the common liability. Further, there is no right of contribution in favor of any tortfeasor against whom an intentional tort claim has been alleged and established.
Context of subrogation
In the context of subrogation, an insurer may pursue the tortfeasor’s right of contribution from a joint tortfeasor, to the extent the amount it paid was in excess of the tortfeasor’s proportionate share of common liability. The insurer may pursue the tortfeasor’s right of contribution if the insurer has made payment, which discharges in full or in part, the liability of the tortfeasor and has discharged in full by the payment its obligation as an insurer. Pursuant to Ohio Revised Code 2307.26, an action for contribution from a joint tortfeasor must be brought within one year after a judgment or timely settlement. Contact one of our subrogation attorneys to discuss the right of contribution and joint tortfeasors.